Author Topic: Marrying a widower is tough...  (Read 3029 times)

serpico

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Marrying a widower is tough...
« on: February 24, 2017, 01:36:10 PM »
...at least, according to my new wife, and I can't disagree  She has turned to the Interwebz for comfort and found a blog she really likes called Jess Plus the Mess.  Jess is a widow who married a widower, so it's not exactly like my situation (my wife is divorced and her ex is still very much alive), but it's close enough for my wife to take some comfort.

Here is one of the first posts she showed me:  http://jessplusthemess.com/index.php/my-blog-old/entry/what-not-to-say-to-a-woman-married-to-a-former-widower

When we married, my wife and her kids gave up their home, school, (small) city, and many friends to come live in the country with me and my three kids, so I try to be sensitive to her about all of the changes.  I figure if she can find some solace with others who have faced the challenge of marrying a widower, I'm all for it.

Does anyone else deal with the struggles a new spouse (or significant other) has with our widow status?
'I think I got some of your pickle'

daysofelijah

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 02:33:13 PM »
Wow, I don't like the tone of the author in that article at all. She seems pretty rude to the deceased wife, but I guess she is venting. And if your wife finds commiseration in it that's good you encourage her in that outlet.

I think since my marriage was troubled almost since the beginning, it's easier for NG. He doesn't have me clinging to memories of happier times with my DH. And also I do not live near where DH and I lived so there aren't constant reminders. But I still see insecurities in NG sometimes when he asked more personal questions about my relationship with DH.

There are other hard things though, like, I have four kids and I NEVER get a break to go on an overnight or such. There's no every other weekend break for me like many single/divorced moms get. I know that's a struggle for both of us.

I wonder how it will change when/if NG and I marry. I think the hardest will be for my older kids, to accept NG as a stepdad. Not that they don't like him, just a big role for him to step in to.

I hope things get easier for your new wife. Communication is so important.

Amy, mom to four (14,13,9,5)

Mizpah

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 02:56:24 PM »
My (widower) boyfriend has no problem with my status.  But I have big problems with his, or rather how he has handled it, or handled me, or handled us.  I left my whole life, job (I'm still working, but my old job was way more exciting), friends, city (for the country), peace (for pets and his young son who is... challenging at best), etc.  To live in the house he shared with his late fiancee and her children, and raise our child together.  It has been HARD.  Hard.  Very very hard. 

(Added: we're not married)

P.S. I read the post after I responded.  I didn't find it offensive like DOE.  I found it comforting and refreshingly honest, and also slightly tragic for me and the blogger.  Many late spouses become perfect upon their death.  A new person coming into that situation will often feel they cannot measure up.  I know that I have felt that way, sometimes because I've been made to feel that way by circumstances or other people or even my boyfriend (though he claims he never has or would or intended to).  There are lower times when I have been obsessed by her, where I imagine their life together as this perfect thing that he would choose in a millisecond and get rid of me.  This woman I can never ever live up to.  I do often feel as though I live in her shadow.  I live in her space, and imagine what it was with her in it.  Thank Gd for therapy. 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 03:04:01 PM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Mrskro

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 03:06:12 PM »
I don't have experience as a widow with this, but I do have experience as a step kid.  My mom passed when I was a teen and my dad remarried.   

I can see what the author is saying, I have relatives that still refer to my step mother as "that women".  They were married 23 years.  At my father's funeral people complained that there weren't enough pictures of "his wife" my mother in the video.   She passed away in the 90's it's not like there were a lot of pictures any way.   I've often thought about how difficult people made my step mom's life with in sensitive comments about my mom.   

My dad made things harder, I think, he moved them into a house my mom had built, not thinking about how hard that would be on everyone, my siblings and I, to watch a new women in our mother's house, her and her kids, moving into another women's house.  Hell he was buried next to her.   

One thing they did was make new friends together, it helped to have people that were theirs alone.  If that makes sense.

I wish you luck blending, I know its hard.

MrsDan

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 03:28:50 PM »
I take issue with this statement:
"If it wouldn’t be appropriate to say in a divorce situation, it’s probably not appropriate to say in a late spouse situation either." 

The two are not the same. At all. The comparison is not apt.

I am sure it is very difficult to be with a widow(er). Honestly, I'm not sure I could do it. My BF has bent over backwards in being understanding and has constantly told me not to censor myself. He has integrated himself into Dan's family events. I have tried to check in with him regularly because I think it's reasonable for his feelings about it to change. Recently he vocalized some issues he's had to me, and they caught off guard a little. H e is a very good person, and I don't think he wants his feelings to impede my grief. But they matter as much as anything, and after a good long talk about it, we resolved a few of his concerns. But I told him that I did not expect his feelings to stay the same, that as our feelings deepen for someone, that impacts how we feel about certain things. So it's a continual conversation.

What seems lost of the author of the piece and probably a lot of people who are with widows is how obligated we feel to keep our late spouses present in the public consciousness. To ensure that they are not forgotten. The new partner is here, but who will speak for our late spouses? 
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.

Mizpah

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 03:30:29 PM »
I keep having further thoughts.  Apologies.  I think that it's harder when you move to someone else's home and town and life.  For example, NG and I are both widows, but we don't ever have contact with DH's family.  We do, however, run into DW's family and friends ALLLLLLL the time.  So it's always in my face in a way that it's never in his face.  We go fishing on the lake where they had their first "date."  We grocery shop at their grocery store.  Etc., etc.  All the places and memories and people - they're remote to him, hypothetical almost, not as real I would guess.
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

tybec

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 06:02:57 PM »
Sorry so long.

Read the blog.  I can see her points, although not pleasant to acknowledge.  There are blended family issues all over.  Just going to be.

My mom's sitter remarried 2 weeks ago, a widower, 2 years out.  He was married 25 yrs. and has a 22 yr. old daughter.  When dating, she had issues with him talking about things that were innocent.  Like, someone asked if he had traveled somewhere and he responded, "Yes, we did travel there often."  Her feelings were hurt. She is divorced for 15 years and been single.  I told her he didn't mean to hurt her as it was a fact, and even if he said "I have traveled there often,"  she would know it was with his late wife.  I sent her info about dating a widowed person.  She did not step into his home he shared with his wife.  The daughter took possession and he bought her a new home and all new everything.  Luckily,he had the money to do so. She seemed to need to be #1 with everything.  And she can't be his first. And she had a bad marriage, so not the same for him and her past history.  But she is his #1 now.  She did not like anything with him that referenced his wife of 25 years. I hope she can handle it because his long term marriage didn't just disappear from his story.

Now, my brother married last Spring, widowed 3 years.  He had new wife move into his house with late wife, that she decorated, designed, etc.  Found out he had not removed any items from her closet, her drawers.  I feel sorry for new wife.  My brother had not prepared her to move into their home. He didn't change anything, and she left her state, job, support network because he had all the material things.  And he is unwilling to look at moving, selling the house. She didn't know what she was getting into and I feel bad for her. No children to worry about, all grown.  In law stuff is there, and new wife is dealing with that which is dysfunctional.  So, not a good way to start a new life.

Me and NG. We talk.  He knows my home is my DH's and my home.  He isn't moving in.  I will be moving and it will be a new home to me and him if we proceed together which I believe we will. He did ask me about removing family pics in the bedroom.  He has talked to me about talking a lot about LH.  He did tell me he saw a movie about marrying a widow is marrying her LH, too.  He is taking in a bunch since I dated LH since age 14.  He has dated many, married, divorced.  We both have strengths and weaknesses due to our experiences and blending that is going to be interesting. I think starting new elsewhere is needed for me and will benefit us.  My life here is my life with DH for 22 years.  Time for change.  But as others here have said, hard.  I will be giving up my identity as DH's other half of 32 years.  I know it will be a challenge to have folks not know DH EVER.  But I think necessary for a new relationship for me. 


Abitlost

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 06:54:41 PM »
serpico,

I have not yet read the blog, but I am curious as to what your current struggles stemming from widowhood are. And did your new bride have similar feelings when you were dating?

I am not married or living with my NG, but he does not seem threatened or uncomfortable with my widow status. Rather, I think he sees that I am capable of working toward and maintaining a successful relationship, and that my capacity to love is intact.

abl

Abitlost

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 07:19:04 PM »
Okay, I just read the link. Wow. While I had my idea of a perfect marriage, there is not a single person in my life that would think or say anything even remotely close to what is on the 10-things list. Admittedly I live in a bubble, but I am a bit horrified -- and saddened -- that such a world exists.

abl

Lisa

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 07:47:26 PM »
What is a "former" widower? How obnoxious. Remarried widower is how I see it.  May not be a popular position but I'm firm in it
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 08:01:38 PM by Lisa »
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Trying

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 08:53:29 PM »
My fiancé moved in with my kids and I this past fall, we have his much younger kids here part time.  I sold the house DH and I shared over a year before fiancé moved in so the physical home is new.  The biggest issue for us is that my kids are older, (20,18,12) and his are little (6&7).  My older 2 have suffered in a lot of negative ways since their dad died and I have enabled some bad behavior because I feel so sorry for their pain.  I can't comprehend not parenting cooperatively becuse I was never divorced.  We try to understand  and support each other but our experience is very different.

Definitely the early part of our relationship was harder on him, people's opinions and comparisons, my grief, and the biggest part was my kids.  I sold the old house for my own reasons but it definitely was a benefit to,our relationship.  Now I think his ex has as much of a daily impact on our lives as me being a widow.  We support each other, we argue with each other, we each have our struggles. 
You will forever be my always.

serpico

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2017, 10:48:08 PM »
I have not yet read the blog, but I am curious as to what your current struggles stemming from widowhood are. And did your new bride have similar feelings when you were dating?

To be clear, I am not the one struggling.  I loved my first wife but I have let her go and have given myself 100% to my new wife.  My wife, though, struggles because a) she lives in what was 'our' house, surrounded by memories of 'our' life, b) she lives in 'our' town, where everyone not only knows each other, but also knows the history of my first wife and I.  Her name gets brought up often, usually when memories are talked about, and while it doesn't bother me I know it bothers my new wife.  She feels like it'll never be just her and me, but her, me, and my former wife.

There are more struggles, but those mainly have to do with her and her kids having to uproot their lives to join my kids and me.  I've given her wide latitude to remake the house, make sure pictures of my first wife are kept only in my kids' rooms, and do anything she needs to in order to make 'my' house 'our' house.  But still, her friends are still all in a small city a half hour away, her daughter goes to the school in my town (which doesn't offer soccer, her main sport  :-\), and her son lives with his father during the week since he's close to graduation and didn't want to switch schools.

So yeah, there are a ton of adjustments we're working through.  It's definitely not easy but we are convinced it will be for the best in the long term.  It'll especially help when some kids start leaving the nest  ;)

Oops, edited to add: she didn't realize it would be nearly this difficult when we were engaged.  I think actually making the move and realizing how much my first wife's memory is inextricably intertwined in our lives has been much more difficult than she first though.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 10:50:07 PM by serpico »
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wecouldbeheros

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 11:28:54 PM »
I just quickly scanned the blog. First I feel the problems one dating or marrying the widow(er) are more times than not self inflicted. You (I) cannot forget the past. Why should we be expected to. If it's that uncomfortable suggestion, move ? Every relationship is unique and different. Wish I had a dollar for every "living" ex problem I've encounterrred. I would not have to work.

fairlanegirl

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2017, 02:30:51 AM »
While I had my idea of a perfect marriage, there is not a single person in my life that would think or say anything even remotely close to what is on the 10-things list. Admittedly I live in a bubble, but I am a bit horrified -- and saddened -- that such a world exists.

abl
Indeed, same here. There are a lot of God-bothery type comments in there though, and my bloke and I are very unlikely to get those. He doesn't seem the slightest bit fazed - he knew I was a widow, he was at the funeral... and I told him from the start he wasn't the consolation prize. He knows I love him.  He doesn't bring children to the equation though, which would complicate things I guess. And we don't live together.

Wheelerswife

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Re: Marrying a widower is tough...
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 08:43:38 AM »
I have not yet read the blog, but I am curious as to what your current struggles stemming from widowhood are. And did your new bride have similar feelings when you were dating?

To be clear, I am not the one struggling.  I loved my first wife but I have let her go and have given myself 100% to my new wife.  My wife, though, struggles because a) she lives in what was 'our' house, surrounded by memories of 'our' life, b) she lives in 'our' town, where everyone not only knows each other, but also knows the history of my first wife and I.  Her name gets brought up often, usually when memories are talked about, and while it doesn't bother me I know it bothers my new wife.  She feels like it'll never be just her and me, but her, me, and my former wife.

There are more struggles, but those mainly have to do with her and her kids having to uproot their lives to join my kids and me.  I've given her wide latitude to remake the house, make sure pictures of my first wife are kept only in my kids' rooms, and do anything she needs to in order to make 'my' house 'our' house.  But still, her friends are still all in a small city a half hour away, her daughter goes to the school in my town (which doesn't offer soccer, her main sport  :-\), and her son lives with his father during the week since he's close to graduation and didn't want to switch schools.

So yeah, there are a ton of adjustments we're working through.  It's definitely not easy but we are convinced it will be for the best in the long term.  It'll especially help when some kids start leaving the nest  ;)

Oops, edited to add: she didn't realize it would be nearly this difficult when we were engaged.  I think actually making the move and realizing how much my first wife's memory is inextricably intertwined in our lives has been much more difficult than she first though.

Hi, Serpico.

I have been thinking about this thread since it came up, trying to decide if I should reply.  Some of my hesitation comes from the reality that I am childless and I really shouldn't have much of an opinion on raising children, blending families and coping with children's' reactions to grief or relocation.  However, I am widowed and I remarried a widower (ummm...not a "former widower" in my book either) and I personally know a fairly large number of widows and widowers who have recoupled/remarried, with and without children, and many situations in which relocation was part of the equation.

I can completely see why you aren't the one struggling in this situation.  You haven't had to give up anything.  Yes, you have lost your late wife and the mother of your children and you have had a pretty matter-of-fact approach to that situation all along and that suits you and your personality.  It sounds like it has been effective for your children, as far as I can gather from reading your posts.

Your new wife, however, probably has a different perspective on all of this.  It isn't that cut and dried.  I'm sure she loves you deeply and wants this transition to work, but seriously, she has made some really big adjustments!  When I moved to be with my second husband, I also left everything I had behind.  I quit my job, sold my house and left the community that I had been a part of for 22 years.  I also made the decision to move into the home my husband had shared with his late wife and I was offered every opportunity to change what I wanted.  My husband was extremely sensitive to my needs, but it was also difficult to make those changes.  Not only did I move into his home, but I moved into his routines.  I don't think I even had words to explain some of this in the first year or so that we were together.  He always told me that if I realized I wasn't happy, that we could move to another house or even a different part of the country.  He was willing to give up a position as a tenured full professor at a university if that was necessary for me to be happy.

Your wife and her children have sacrificed for you.  They are living in the shadow of your late wife.  It isn't easy to re-establish your life in a new place as an adult.  Making friends is difficult.  Making acquaintances isn't as difficult as making friends, but I'll bet your new wife is feeling at least somewhat isolated. 

It seems that the two of you are communicating well, but perhaps your wife hasn't really figured out the words to explain some confusing feelings about her new life.  Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I am just trying to relate my experiences to what she might be feeling.  I can easily list about 15 other widow/widower friends that have had to work through recoupling issues...and the biggest success factor has been compromise.  30 miles is not that far to commute.  Perhaps the whole family would be happier if you could purchase a new "us" home near her small city where your wife and her children can get back to some of what is important to them - and where your (younger?) children can thrive as well.

That's more than my $0.02 worth, but I hope you can appreciate my perspective.

Best wishes to all of you,

Maureen
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

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